Tag Archives: Sergio Troncoso

Happy Independence Day, United States of America!

On July 4, 1776, the United States of America declared themselves free from Great Britain. Thanks to its diverse population, the United States is one of the world’s great superpowers. And, by 2050, some scholars project it will boast the largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. Here’s a look, by region, at some of America’s great Latino writers.

LuisValdezCalifornia: Luiz Valdez, right, the father of Latino theater and playwright of “Zoot Suit,” began presenting plays during the Delano farmworkers strike. The plight of farmworkers in California have been the subject of books by Helena María Viramontes and Pam Muñoz Ryan. Other Californians include Gustavo Arellano, Margarita Engle, Alex Espinoza, Reyna Grande, Gilbert Hernandez, Lorraine López, Luis J. Rodriguez, Michele Serros, Gary Soto, Héctor Tobar and Victor Villaseñor.

Rudulfo AnayaNew Mexico: Native son Rudolfo Anaya, left, considered the father of Chicano literature, has set his novels, including his beloved Bless Me Ultima and Sonny Baca mysteries, in this state. The state also served as the setting for novels by Ana Castillo, Denise Chávez and Alisa Valdes.

esmeralda_santiago_163x179_1Puerto Rico: The Caribbean island joined the United States in 1898. Esmeralda Santiago, right, wrote about her personal history in When I Was Puerto Rican and the island’s history in the novel Conquistadora. Other authors of Puerto Rican heritage include Lyn DiIorio, Sarah McCoy, Piri Thomas, Justin Torres and Willliam Carlos Williams.

Rolando HinojosaTexas: Life on the border has served as fodder for books by Rolando Hinojosa,  left, of the Rio Grande Valley, and Sergio Troncoso of El Paso. Sandra Cisneros, originally from Chicago, set her books Woman Hollering Creek and Have You Seen Marie? in this state. Other Tejanos include Dagoberto Gilb, Manuel Gonzales, Diana López and Gwendolyn Zepeda.

JunotDiazThe country’s most prestigious literary award, the Pulitzer Prize, has been given to Cuban-American Oscar Hijuelos and Dominican-American Junot Díaz, right, in the fiction category; Cuban-American Nilo Cruz and Quiara Alegría Hudes, who is of Puerto Rican descent, in drama; and numerous journalists. Eduardo Lalo won the 2013 International Rómulo Gallegos Prize for Fiction, becoming the first American to win one of Latin America’s most prestigious literary awards. The Pura Belpré Award, given by the American Library Association, honors books written for young readers.

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In the news: March roars with new books by Cepeda, Espinoza, Brown, Engle and Medina

March is coming in like a lion, with lots of new releases:

TheyCallMeAHeroAlready out: Daniel Hernandez Jr. is known as the intern who helped save former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’s life when she was shot at a public event in 2011. His book, They Call Me A Hero: A Memoir of My Youth, focuses on his growing up gay and Hispanic. He talked about the book on CNN and to Publishers Weekly.

TitoPuenteMamboKingMarch 5: Tito Puente Mambo King/Tito Puente, Rey del Mambo, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by Rafael López, introduces the musician to children. They talked about the book here. In Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina, journalist Raquel Cepeda investigates her Dominican family’s ancestry.

Diego LeonMarch 19: In Alex Espinoza’s The Five Acts of Diego León: A Novel, a Mexican peasant goes to Hollywood to pursue a career in the movies. The life of poet Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda, who fought against slavery in Cuba as a teenager, is depicted in the children’s book The Lightning Dreamer: Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist by Margarita Engle.

YaquiDelgadoMarch 26: In Meg Medina’s young adult novel, Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, a teenager finds out she is being bullied by someone she doesn’t even know.

HotelJuarezMarch 31: Arte Publico is publishing several books:  Hotel Juarez: Stories, Room and Loops by Daniel Chacon, Desperado: A Mile High Noir by Manuel Ramos and Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence edited by Sergio Troncoso and Sarah Cortez.

Awards:

Guadalupe Garcia McCall was nominated for the Nebula Award’s Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy – given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America –for her novel Summer of the Mariposas.

Rigoberto González received the Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award for his work toward his peers.

Book Festivals:

• The Tucson Festival of Books takes place March 9-10 and will feature Diana Gabaldon, Guadalupe García McCall, Reyna Grande, Daniel Hernandez, Juan Felipe Herrera, Lizz Huerta, Ruben Martinez, Matt Mendez, Santino J. Rivera, Gloria Velasquez and Luis Alberto Urrea.

Other news:

The movie version of Bless Me Ultima is out in theaters. Author Rudolfo Anaya talked to NBC Latino about seeing his book hit the silver screen. Here’s a great review from noted film critic Roger Ebert.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz, who recently won three awards from the American Library Association Youth Media Awards for his 2012 book Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, talked to the School Library Journal.

• A memoir from singer Jenni Rivera, who died in a plane crash last year, is expected to be released in July, according to the Associated Press.

• The Omaha World-Herald profiled Joy Castro, author of Hell or High Water.

• Here’s an interesting New York Times article about Cuban-American playwright María Irene Fornés, the Obie-award winning author of 42 plays, who has Alzheimer’s disease and whose friends are campaigning to move her to New York City so they can visit her.

• The remains of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda will be exhumed to determine if he died of cancer or was poisoned by followers of dictator Augusto Pinochet, according to the BBC.

• NPR had a great story on the Oscar-nominated film, No, which covers the advertising campaign to vote out Pinochet. The movie, starring Gabriel Garcia Bernal, is based on a play by Antonio Skarmeta, author of Il Postino.

• Can’t get enough of Richard Blanco, the Cuban-American poet who read his poem, “One Today,” at President Obama’s inauguration? Here’s a story from NPR.

• PBS’ Need to Know presented a report on Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies.

Denise Chavez, author of Loving Pedro Infante, is using Kickstarter to raise money for an anthology on border literature and artwork.

• The Makers website profiled Sandra Cisneros.

• Fox News Latino reported on the rise of Latino comic book characters.

• Mexican-American artists Tony Preciado and Rhode Montijo have created a book, Super Grammar, to teach students grammar, according to NBC Latino.

Junot Díaz is scheduled to appear on The Colbert Report March 25.

Also this month:

• Three Nobel Prize winners – Gabriel Gárcia Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and the late Octavio Paz – celebrate birthdays in March.

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In the news: Sáenz, Díaz win Pura Belpré Awards

The new year brings honors for books released last year. Here’s a look at some recent award winners, plus the usual round-up of new releases and other links.

AristotleDanteBenjamin Alire Sáenz’s 2012 young adult novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe won three major honors today at the American Library Association’s Youth Media Awards. His story of two teenagers who form an unlikely friendship earned the Pura Belpré Author Award, which honors books that depict the Latino experience; a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, which awards outstanding books for young adults; and the Stonewall Book Award, which recognizes stories that represent the lives of lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgendered youth.

martin-de-porresThe other Pura Belpré recipients were The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano, an Honor Book winner for author Sonia Manzano, and Martín de Porres: The Rose in the Desert which won the Belpré Illustrator Award for David Díaz.

• Several Latino writers made the 2013 Rainbow List for books aimed at youth that depict the LBGTQ experience. They are Jeanne Córdova, When We Were Outlaws:  a Memoir of Love & Revolution; Rigoberto Gonzalez, Mariposa Gown; Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante; Charles Rice-González, Chulito: A Novel.

SummeroftheMariposasGuadalupe Gárcia McCall’s Summer of the Mariposas earned a place on the Amelia Bloomer Project Top Ten List for feminist books for youth.

Reyna Grande was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award in the autobiography category for her memoir The Distance Between Us.

ThisIsHowYouLoseHerJunot Díaz is up for The Story Prize, given to short story collections, for his book This is How You Lose Her. Diaz’s book was also named to the Reference and User Services Association’s 2013 Notable Books List.

Sergio Troncoso’s 2011 novel From This Wicked Patch of Dust won the Southwest Book Award, which is given by the Border Regional Library Association.

• Houston’s Tony Díaz, leader of the Librotraficante movement, will receive the Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

MyBelovedWorldOut in bookstores:

• Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has the number one book on The New York Times’ Hardcover Non-Fiction chart with her memoir, My Beloved World.

• Fiction: In Thomas Sanchez‘s American Tropic, an ecoterrorist is on the loose in the Florida Keys. In Kind of Kin by Rilla Askew, an Oklahoma family comes under fire for hiring undocumented immigrants from Mexico.

Literary Magazines:

• The Kweli literary journal, which features works by people of color, is accepting submissions until March 1.

Dagoberto Gilb is among the writers with works in the latest issue of Make: A Chicago Literary Magazine.

Writing contests:

• Feb. 12 is the deadline to submit scripts for consideration for the 2013 Austin Latino New Play Festival, which is open to Texas/Tejano playwrights this year. The festival, sponsored by Teatro Vivo, features a different play each night from May 16 to 18.

Other news:

Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco, who recited his poem at President Obama’s inauguation, was profiled on the Poets.org website and the Poetry Foundation website. Watch that poem and read 14 other works by Blanco on the MediaBistro website. In this Huffington Post article, he talked about how his homosexuality was not accepted in his family.

• Cuban-American Dolores Prida, a playwright, newspaper columnist and the “Dolores Dice” columnist for Latina magazine, passed away last month, Latina reports. Here are articles about her from the Associated Press, CNN, Huffington Post, The Nation and The New York Times. Read Prida’s columns at the Voices of NY website.

• In this School Library Journal story, librarians reacted to a recent New York Times article about the lack of Latino literature in classrooms.

Las Comadres Para Las Americas National Latino Book Club has announced its first book selections of the year – including the anthology Eight Ways to Say “I Love My Life” and Sabrina Vourvoulias’ science-fiction novel Ink.

Los Angeles Times columnist Héctor Tobar interviewed Sandra Cisneros for the LA Review of Books. Tobar also wrote about Latino Books y Más, a bookstore that specializes in Latino literature in Palm Springs, Calif., that is closing down. Cisneros delivered her playlist, with selections from from Chavela Vargas to The Beatles,to the alt.latino website of NPR.

Manuel Gonzales, author of the The Miniature Wife and Other Stories, was featured in The Austin Chronicle. Hear Gonzales read one of his book’s stories, “Pilot, CoPilot, Writer”, on the Poets and Writers website.

• Poet Martín Espada discussed his works, including his most recent book The Trouble Ball, on the TV show Bill Moyers and Company.

• Daniel Alcarón, whose novel At Night We Walk in Circles will come out in the fall, talked to Poets and Writers magazine about the importance of literary awards.

• The Publishing Perspectives website discussed how more translations are needed for books by Latin American writers.

• Natasha Wimmer talked to the website Sampsonia Way about translating the works of Roberto Bolaño.

Joy Castro, author of Hell or High Water, discussed her faith to the In the Fray website.

In February:

• In honor of Black History Month, here’s a look at Afro-Latino writers. Want to read a great romance for Valentine’s Day? Try something from this list of great love stories, Latino-style.

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La Llorona, chupacabras, oh my! Spooky books for children and teens

Boo! October brings the greatest holiday ever – Halloween. It’s not just about the candy, but listening to stories that put goosebumps on your arms and a shiver in your bones. As part of book blogger Jenn Lawrence’s meme, Murder, Monsters, Mayhem, here’s a look at spooky tales, Latino-style, for children and young adults. Look for a list of suspense books for adults later this week.

In Mexican folklore, no figure is more haunting than La Llorona, the woman who drowned her children and spends her time calling for them. Her tale has been told in numerous books, including La Llorona/The Weeping Woman by Joe Hayes, who talked about the story’s enduring legacy to The Hispanic Reader last year.

Texas-based writer Rene Saldaña Jr. also explores the myth – and others – in his book, Dancing with the Devil and Other Tales from Beyond / Bailando con el diablo y otros cuentos del más allá. La Llorona is becoming part of mainstream pop culture: She will be the subject of NBC’s Grimm in the Oct. 26 episode. Wilmer Valderrama talked about the project to NBC Latino. And here’s Lila Downs singing about La Llorona.

La Llorona and those other spooky beasts – the chupacabras – are part of Texas-based children’s writer Xavier Garza books, including Creepy Creatures and Other Cucuys, Kid Cyclone Fights the Devil and Other Stories and Juan and the Chupacabras/ Juan y el Chupacabras. The Rio Grande Valley native talked about the inspiration for the books to the San Antonio Express-News last year.

For more universal creatures, Alma Flor Ada writes about ghosts in What Are Ghosts Afraid Of? El susto de los fantsmas. In A Mummy in Her Backpack/Una Momia en su mochila by James Luna, a girl ends up with an unusual souvenir from vacation. Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes and Yuyi Morales is a poem about the creatures that haunt the night.

Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy combines Halloween and the other upcoming holiday, Dias de los Muertos, in Celebrate Halloween and the Day of the Dead with Cristina and her Blue Bunny Celebra el Halloween y el Día de Muertos con Cristina y su conejito azul. Pat Mora’s Abuelos describes a Halloween-like holiday in northern New Mexico that has Mexican and Pueblo roots.

For young adults, You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens features a variety of tales from as Saldaña, Diana López and Sergio Troncoso. Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s recently released novel Summer of the Mariposas also features La Llorona – in a gentler light than most books – and chupacabras.

The Beautiful Creatures series, written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, features teenagers who meet otherworldly beings called Casters. The book soon will be a major motion picture starring Viola Davis and Emma Thompson. Alisa Valdes’ The Temptation features a romance between supernatural teens.

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In the news: New books, awards and news from Vargas Llosa, Díaz, Cisneros

It’s July! The month offers plenty of intriguing books to keep you cool during the hot summer days:

Just released: Choke by Diana López, editor of the Huizache literary magazine, features middle school students caught in a dangerous choking game so they can become “breath sisters.” The Boy Kings of Texas: A Memoir by Domingo Martinez examines the author’s childhood in the Rio Grande Valley. In the novel The Frost on His Shoulders by Spanish author Lorenzo Mediano, a teacher in 1930s looks back on a romance that ripped a small town in the Pyrenees Mountains.

July 10: Spanish author Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s The Prisoner of Heaven, the third in his Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, follows a newlywed couple who must go back in time to 1940s Barcelona to uncover a terrible secret.

July 17: Joy Castro’s Hell or High Water features newspaper reporter Nola Céspedes investigating the world of violent predators in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans. Gwedolyn Zepeda writes about single mother facing a family crisis in Better with You Here.

Awards:

Héctor Tobar’s The Barbarian Nurseries won the California Book Award in the Fiction category.

Winners in the ForeWord Book of the Year, which honor independently published books, include Sergio Troncoso’s From This Wicked Patch of Dust, honorable mention, Multicultural Adult Fiction category, and Crossing Borders: Personal Essays, bronze, Essays; Lyn DiIorio’s Outside the Bones, second place, Literary Fiction; Blas Falconer and Lorraine M. López, editors of The Other Latin@, honorable mention, Adult Non-Fiction Anthologies; and Emerita Romero-Anderson, Milagro of the Spanish Bean Pot, Bronze, Juvenile Fiction.

Other news:

The Guardian profiled Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, right, whose newest book is The Dream of the Celt.

Gabriel García Marquez, 85, is reportedly suffering from dementia, according to this Huffington Post article.

• A film version of the late Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz is in the works, reports the Word and Film website.

César Chávez’s The Words of César Chávez is the lone book by a Hispanic to make the Library of Congress exhibit, The Books That Shaped America.

• Here’s a video of Junot Díaz talking about his new book, This Is How You Lose Her, at last month’s Book Expo America. He also discussed the role of race in his writings to The Boston Review.

Luis Alberto Urrea talked about immigration to NPR’s Talk of the Nation.

 • Woo hoo! Sandra Cisneros has a new book – Have You Seen Marie? – coming out Oct. 2.

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In the News: New books and short stories, and plenty of awards

Hello, summer! Here are some June book releases to keep you entertained:

Already in bookstores: Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Dream of the Celt depicts the life of Irish human rights activist Richard Casement.  La Roja: How Soccer Conquered Spain and How Spanish Soccer Conquered the World by Jimmy Burns covers the world’s most popular sport. Daniel Orozco’s critically acclaimed book of short stories, Orientation, is now in paperback.

June 14: The Neruda Case by Roberto Ampuero features a private eye solving a case for poet Pablo Neruda during his final days. Carolina DeRobertis, author of Perla, talked to Publishers Weekly about translating the book.

June 26: Spanish author Felix J. Palma’s The Map of Time explores time travel in Victorian London.

Awards:

Congratulations to the winners of Latino Literacy Now’s International Latino Book Awards, which were announced last week. Honorees included some of The Hispanic Reader’s favorites – such as Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon by Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa and Crossing Borders: Personal Essays by Sergio Troncoso, which won first place and second place, respectively, in the Best Biography category; Outside the Bones by Lyn Di Iorio and Say Her Name by Francisco Goldman, which earned honorable mentions in the Best Popular Fiction – English category; and The Time in Between by Maria Dueñas which received first place for Best Novel – Historical.

• The Skipping Stones 2012 Honor Awards – given to books with multicultural themes – honored Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown.

When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution by Jeanne Córdova and Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader, edited by Michael Hames-García and Ernesto Javier Martínez, won prizes at the 24th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, which honors lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgendered literature.

New short stories and other works:

Junot Díaz talks about the science fiction short story, “Monstro,” he wrote for The New Yorker. He also remembered science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, who passed away earlier this month, in an article for the magazine.

Luis Alberto Urrea will have a short story included in Esquire’s ebook aimed at men, You and Me and the Devil Makes Three, out June 12.

Carlos Andrés Gómez put up a new poem, How to Fight, in response to recent shootings.

Author profiles:

NBC Latino profiled Julia Alvarez and her new book, A Wedding in Haiti.

Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos talked about his memoir, Thoughts Without Cigarettes, to The Morning News.

Carmen Gimenez Smith, New Mexico State University assistant professor of English and editor of the literary magazine Puerto del Sol, was featured in the Las Cruces Sun-News about being NPR’s NewsPoet.

Body art by Mia Roman. Photographed by Johnny Ramos.

Other news:

La Casa Azul bookstore, which specializes in Latino literature, opened in June in East Harlem by Aurora Anaya-Cerda (right), and was featured in The New York Times.

Aztec Muse publisher Tony Diaz earned the Open Book Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors for his Librotraficante work.

• Here’s an interesting story, published in the The Daily Beast/Newsweek, about how Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude brought down a banana empire.
Note: This post was updated to correct that Sergio Troncoso won second place in the International Latino Book Awards and to add the Garcia Marquez link.

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In the news: April showers new books, awards and other news

New releases:

• Several Latino-oriented books are coming out in the next few weeks. Gustavo Arellano explores Americans’ fascination with Mexican food in Taco USA, which will be available this Tuesday. Read an excerpt here.

• Four interweaving stories, from South America to Boston, form the plot of Differential Equations by Julian Iragorri and Lou Aronica, out April 16.

Dagoberto Gilb’s “Uncle Rock” will be featured in the The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012 anthology, which will be published April 17.

Julia Alvarez’s new book, A Wedding in Haiti, out April 24, describes her experiences in that country before and after the 2010 earthquake. Also coming out that week is Roberto Bolaño’s The Secret of Evil, a collection of short stories, and Alisa Valdes’ The Temptation, the first in a supernatural trilogy.

Awards:

• Several Latinos were named as finalists in ForeWord Reviews’ Book of the Year contest, honoring books from independent publishers. Lyn DiIorio’s Outside the Bones made the Fiction-Literary list. Sergio Troncoso’s (left) Crossing Borders earned a spot in the Essays category and From This Wicked Patch of Dust made the Fiction-Multicultural list, as did Richard Yañez’s Cross Over Water and Rudolfo Anaya’s Randy Lopez Goes Home.

Troncoso’s From This Wicked Patch of Dust was also nominated in the Reading the West Book Awards in the Adult Fiction category. Emerita Romero-Anderson was nominated in the children’s category for Milagro of the Spanish Bean Pot.

Book festivals:

The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, running April 20-21, will feature a plethora of authors, including Gustavo Arellano, Kami Garcia (left), José-Luis Orozco, Héctor Tobar and Luis Alberto Urrea. Rudolfo Anaya will be honored with a lifetime achievement award.

Writing workshops:

April 15 is the deadline to sign up for the National Latino Writers Conference May 16-19 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque. Teachers include Jimmy Santiago Baca, Cristina García and Rigoberto González (right).

Body art by Mia Roman. Photographed by Johnny Ramos.

Other bits:

The New York Daily News profiled Aurora Anaya-Cerda’s (right) building of the Latino-oriented La Casa Azul bookstore in East Harlem, slated for a spring opening. Check out her progress on her Facebook page.

The Daily News also profiled poet Nuyorican poet Bonafide Rojas.

The Daily Show covered the Arizona ban on Latino-themed books and ethnic studies as only The Daily Show could.

Publishers Weekly had a nice write-up about Pat Mora’s Día: El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book.

Sergio Troncoso previews his panel, “Latino Literature, Then and Now,” to the Texas Library Association’s annual conference April 17-19 in Houston.

The Austin American-Statesman featured the Austin Latino New Play Festival.

 

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In the news: Librotraficantes in Arizona, Anaya, Valdes, Díaz

Arizona:

The Librotraficante Caravan will kick off March 12 on its journey to distribute Latino-themed books that have been banned in Tucson classrooms. Aztec Muse founder Tony Diaz is spearheading the tour, which starts in Houston and hosts events during its stops in San Antonio, El Paso and Albuquerque and, finally, Tucson. The San Antonio event on March 13 will include Sandra Cisneros (right), Carmen Tafolla and Luis Alberto Urrea. The Tucson event on March 17 will feature Dagoberto Gilb and Helena Maria Viramontes. At each stop, the caravan will create Underground Libraries made up of the banned books.

Awards:

Bless Me Ultima author Rudolfo Anaya, left, will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes. The ceremony takes place April 20 and coincides with the Los Angeles Festival of Books April 21-22.

• Books by Sergio Chejfec, Tomás Eloy Martínez, Juan José Saer, Moacyr Scliar and Enrique Vila-Matas made the 2012 Best Translated Books Award Longlist.

Book Festivals:

• The Tucson Festival of Books, which runs March 10-11, will include Monica Brown, Denise Chavez, Diana Gabaldon, Carmen Giménez Smith, Grace Pena Delgado, Sam Quinones, Alberto Alvaro Ríos, Sergio Troncoso and Luis Alberto Urrea, right, who will give the keynote address during the Author’s Table Dinner March 9.

Children’s Literature Conference:

March 19 is the deadline for early registration for the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference, which takes place March 29-30 in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The event includes seminars on educational strategies, networking opportunities and a keynote address by authors Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy.

Upcoming releases:

Alisa Valdes, best known for her Dirty Girls Social Club series, plans to publish 100-page ebook romance “novelas” for $1.99 one a month starting with Billy, the Man in April. (Click on her “eRomance” page.)

• Pultizer Prize winner Junot Díaz is releasing a new book of short stories called This Is How You Lose Her on Sept. 11, according to The New York Times.

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Best of 2011

At the end of the year, critics, bloggers and anyone else who wants to makes their own “best of” list, so I decided to make my own Latino literature favorites for 2011. Keep in mind that I started my blog in August, so I missed out on some books, such as Lorraine López’s The Realm of Hungry Spirits and Jon Michaud’s When Tito Loved Clara, and I’m keeping the list to just five books instead of the usual ten. Here are the books I loved the most from 2011:

• Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name was a riveting love story – loosely based on his own marriage to writer Aura Estrada – that covered the beginning of their relationship to her death in a swimming accident. This book will break your heart.

• Héctor Tobar’s The Barbarian Nurseries was a fast-paced, unputdownable novel about an undocumented maid who is thrust in the middle of an immigration debate when she is left alone with her boss’s children. The book has great description, strong characters and terrific observations about politics. It’s a shame this book didn’t receive more attention.

• Although I consider myself an avid reader, how did I not discover the awesomeness that is Luis Alberto Urrea until this year? I absolutely loved his 2005 book The Hummingbird’s Daughter, a funny, beautiful novel about a woman who discovers her healing powers in revolutionary Mexico. Her father, Don Tomas, just may be one of the best literary characters ever. The 2011 sequel, Queen of America, shows Teresita coping with her success. The tone is more somber than Daughter and there’s not enough Don Tomas, but the book is still pretty terrific.

• Sergio Troncoso wrote two books this year – a book of essays, Crossing Borders, and a novel, From This Wicked Patch of Dust – both of which draw on his experiences of living on the Texas-Mexico border. I liked Borders for its riveting essays on family dynamics and relationships – and it’s unusual to see a male author talk about work-life balance. His works deserve a larger audience.

• Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa’s Becoming Dr. Q is a fascinating look at one man’s journey from an undocumented immigrant from Mexico to one of the top brain surgeons in the United States.

I also liked Justin Torres’s We the Animals, Dagoberto Gilb’s Before the End, After the Beginning and Lyn Di Iorio’s Outside the Bones. For my non-Latino books, I loved Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

What were your favorite 2011 books? Post in the comments.

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In the news: Best of 2011, La Casa Azul bookstore, World Book Night

Best of 2011

• Here’s some more Best of 2011 lists: Entertainment Weekly put Francisco Goldman’s Say Her Name on its Top 10 Fiction list. Barnes and Noble picked When Tito Loved Clara, by Jon Michaud, about a Dominican Republican woman trying to settle in New Jersey when her old lover returns.

• Sergio Troncoso’s From This Wicked Patch of Dust and Richard Yanez’s Cross Over Water both earned spots on the Southwest Books of the Year by the Pima County Library in Tucson, Arizona. Two books by Rudolfo Anaya made the list – La Llorona: The Crying Woman and Randy Lopez Goes Home: A Novel, as did the children’s book, Juan Verdades: The Man Who Couldn’t Tell a Lie / El hombre que no sabia mentir by Joe Hayes.

• Rigoberto Gonzalez made his list of the best Small Press books, including Chulito by Charles Rice-González.

Body art by Mia Roman. Photographed by Johnny Ramos.

Bookstores

• Congratulations to Aurora Anaya-Cerda, left, who plans to open La Casa Azul bookstore in East Harlem in the spring. Publisher’s Weekly and the New York Daily News wrote articles about the bookstore, which was funded through a donation drive.

World Book Night

• Junot Diaz’s awesome The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao was chosen as one of 30 novels that will given out for World Book Night April 23. You can apply to be a book giver here.

New releases:

All Yours, a paperback crime novel by Argentine Claudia Piñeiro, came out last week.

Interesting:

In this article in The Guardian, Spanish novelist Lucía Etxebarria announced this week she would stop writing because she opposes the downloading of books. Brazilian Paulo Coehlo has taken a different view, allowing readers to download his books in some countries, according to this New York Times story published in the fall.

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